Dennis Muren

Dennis Muren
Los Angeles Times

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Dennis Muren
Film: South side of the 6700 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Visual Effects
Born Dennis Elmer Muren on Nov. 1, 1946 in Glendale, Calif.

Visual effects wizard Dennis Muren received his first camera from his parents at age 10. Together with his boyhood friend Rick Baker (who went on to become a major Hollywood makeup effects artist), Muren experimented extensively with creating special effects on camera.

While attending Pasadena City College for his associate degree in business, Muren created a short science fiction film called "Equinox." The film was picked up by a distribution company, which brought in another director to expand it to feature length. Muren received credit as a producer.

Shortly after college, Muren was hired by a new visual effects company, Industrial Light and Magic, to work on owner George Lucas' upcoming film, "Star Wars."

The special effects in "Star Wars" revolutionized the industry and made Industrial Light and Magic the go-to company for state-of-the-art effects. Muren worked almost his entire career at the company.

Following "Star Wars," Muren went on to oversee visual effects on such films as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind, "E.T." and the first two Indiana Jones films. (His eyes made a cameo appearance in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." He's the Nazi who looks over his Life magazine at Indy near the beginning of the film.)

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Muren oversaw ILM's push into computer generated imagery, which led to breakthrough visual effects in "Willow," "Young Sherlock Holmes" and "The Abyss." That movement culminated in "Jurassic Park" in 1993, when Muren and his team created lifelike dinosaurs in the computer.

His visual effects work has earned him nine Academy Awards. And though he continues to be on staff at ILM, he's taken time off to write books on visual effects and serve as a consultant for Pixar Animation.

In 1981, Muren married landscape architect and documentary filmmaker Zara Pinfold. The couple has two children.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1980 Special Achievement Award The Empire Strikes Back Win*
    1981 Best Visual Effects Dragonslayer Nomination*
    1981 Special Achievement Award Win*
    1982 Best Visual Effects E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Win*
    1983 Special Achievement Award Return of the Jedi Win*
    1984 Best Visual Effects Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Win*
    1985 Best Visual Effects Young Sherlock Holmes Nomination*
    1987 Best Visual Effects Innerspace Win*
    1988 Best Visual Effects Willow Nomination*
    1989 Best Visual Effects The Abyss Win*
    1991 Best Visual Effects Terminator 2: Judgment Day Win*
    1993 Best Visual Effects Jurassic Park Win*
    1997 Best Visual Effects The Lost World: Jurassic Park Nomination*
    1999 Best Visual Effects Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Nomination*
    2001 Best Visual Effects A.I.: Artificial Intelligence Nomination*
    2005 Best Visual Effects War of the Worlds Nomination*
    * A joint nomination shared with other people.

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